Julia Kabance, the oldest living female WWII veteran in the United States and the oldest member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, died Tuesday at 111 years old.
The tribe announced her death Wednesday on its Facebook site.
Kabance was thought to be the oldest living person in the state, though the state government doesn’t keep records on that.
Kabance died at Good Samaritan Valley Vista nursing home in Wamego, but she had lived independently in St. Marys until the age of 108 and enjoyed relatively good health. Because she never married, “I could do whatever I wanted,” she told The Mercury in a 2019 interview.
America’s oldest living person is Thelma Sutcliffe, of Omaha, Neb., according to the AARP. She turned 115 last month.
She had said in 2019 that she wanted to live to “at least 112,” hoping to beat the woman who held the national title at the time.
Kabance was born on a farm on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation near Holton in 1910, the 11th of 12 children. She attended what is now Haskell Indian Nations University and later attended the University of Kansas. She joined the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) on March 17, 1943, and served until 1945.
Kabance was employed after the war by the Air Force in Topeka, then studied accounting before working in the state of Washington and on the East Coast, she told The Mercury. She also spent a lot of time volunteering for the Veterans Affairs and the Catholic Church.
A service was planned for Friday evening with burial on Saturday morning at Assumption Chapel in St. Marys. Piper Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.